This year’s Eisteddfod Vocal and Instrumental Festival organised by the National Institute of Allied Arts (NIAA), is taking place across Harare, showcasing the up-and-coming musical skill and talent of children. Offering open categories also, children from age five right up to adults participate in the festival, which provides an annual measure of increasing mastery in their chosen genre through the years. In turn, audiences can look forward to the next generations of musicians whose performances will delight them into the distant future. Many who have come through these ranks are now prominent music professionals and teachers and indeed from time to time, adjudicators at the very festival.
By Rosie Mitchell
So far, following adjudications of all genres in the south of the country at Midlands Christian College in Gweru on February 27 and 28, the festival in Harare has primarily focused on African music. Many vibrant performances have been enjoyed and adjudicated on mbira, marimba and other traditional instruments hosted at Prince Edward School (PE) and some amazing choral work at Gateway High School. These sessions have kept adjudicators — Albert Chimedza and George Tamisai — extremely busy, and African choirs in particular drew large numbers of parents and the public who thoroughly enjoyed the energetic performances in various categories. In additional, Scottish Bagpipes and Drums was held at St John’s College last Saturday, adjudicated by Mike McMullen and Western Instrumental sessions kicked off this week, adjudicated by Corinne Marsh. George Tamisai conducted a choral workshop last Tuesday following the day’s choral adjudications on the same day, attended by music teachers and choir conductors. Other workshops offered are a Drumkit Clinic with adjudicator Max Covini at PE tomorrow and on March 24, the Open Instrumental Lessons with adjudicator Corinne Marsh will be held at Harare International School (HIS), plus Open Vocal Lessons with adjudicator Andre Serfontein at the Margot Dennis Studio. On March 25, Miss Marsh holds Open Piano Lessons at HIS.
The exciting Western Vocal Challenge takes place at HIS on March 22 and the final concert and awards and Junior Highlights Concert on March 25 and 26 respectively, at HIS. All three events offer the opportunity to enjoy some of our country’s finest talent.
The NIAA, run by volunteers, has been holding annual festivals for over 100 years, with a view to ensuring a vibrant artistic life in our country for now and future generations. Be sure to pop in and enjoy just some of the sessions and concerts on offer this year, guaranteed to lift your spirits! Go to the NIAA Facebook Page to find the full programme and video clips and photos of some of what is taking place, and in turn, follow links to its YouTube channel.